Relaxing liquor laws, later last calls for bars and restaurants and more nightlife businesses around Metro stations are just some of the solutions a Montgomery County task force is considering to pump up the county's nighttime economy.
Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett addressed the 20-member group at its first meeting Monday in Silver Spring, Bethesda Now reported.
While most people like the idea of improving the county's nighttime economy, they might not like what it means, Leggett said.
"People say, ‘I like the benefits of that, but I don’t want to deal with the practical effects of that,’” he said, Bethesda Now reported.
The group’s efforts are not intended to result in “23-year-olds driving down the streets of Bethesda at 70 miles an hour and screaming out their windows and kicking over trashcans," Heather Dlholopolsky, a Bethesda land use attorney and the task group's chairwoman, told Bethesda Now.
In convening the group earlier this month, Leggett (D) issued a statement explaining its initial task.
“A thriving nighttime economy is an opportunity to enhance Montgomery’s attractiveness to all generations, businesses and visitors," Leggett said in a statement. "In its first phase, the focus will be on Bethesda, Silver Spring, Rockville, Germantown and Wheaton.”
Leggett created the group after finding out that the county’s demographics were changing—with the young professionals remaining level but the number of retirees increasing, the Washington Examiner reported.
County officials are reconsidering how to brand the county in order to attract people to live and play here, Mid-County Regional Services Director Ana Lopez Van Balen told the Examiner.
The group has six months to address seven areas, based on goals from the Responsible Hospitality Institute, a nonprofit group formed to promote legal and social awareness programs for the hospitality industry. The areas are:
- Arts and Entertainment.
- Business engagement.
- Public use and amenities.
- Quality of life.
- Public Safety.
- Venue operations and safety.